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Snider finds humor in political issues

Todd Snider's album, "Peace Queer," contains eight politically charged songs that also touch upon heartbreak, sadness and humor. He will perform Saturday on the Plaza Stage.

Todd Snider's album, "Peace Queer," contains eight politically charged songs that also touch upon heartbreak, sadness and humor. He will perform Saturday on the Plaza Stage.

Tucson Folk Festival headliner Todd Snider is a decidedly distinct voice in the music business. While he comes off as goofy, his irreverent wit and keen observations on political and social issues have built a loyal following.

He’s at his most politically opinionated on his latest release, “Peace Queer.” The eight songs on the album bear titles such as “Ponce of the Flaming Peace Queer,” “Mission Accomplished (Because You Gotta Have Faith)” and “Is This Thing Working?” Snider also does an acoustic version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son.”

Snider jokingly told the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune he was coerced to record “Peace Queer.”

“I was forced to do it against my will by a group of hippies who locked me in a closet and force-fed me Phil Ochs material and early Joan Baez material,” he said. “They made me smoke awful marijuana and forced me to care about things, which upset me deeply. But at a certain point, I grew sympathetic to their cause, like Patty Hearst. They made me make this album for them.”

Snider performs Saturday night at this weekend’s festival, whose other headliners are Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, and Eric Andersen.

Fans will find more of Snider’s satirical spins on “Peace, Love and Anarchy,” a 2007 album of rarities, B-sides and demos. The collection of odds-and-ends features Snider pondering middle age on “Combover Blues” and having fun with haiku on “Dinner Plans.”

The singer-songwriter’s 2006 album, “The Devil You Know,” was critically acclaimed, ranking No. 33 in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 50 albums of 2006, according to a press release. The album about the down-and-out delves into subjects such as manual labor, prostitution, crime, fidelity, politics and religion.

“At first, this whole record was a reaction to living in a country at war,” he said on his Web site, toddsnider.net. “But I didn’t want to do the typical war stuff that we’re hearing now. Didn’t want to say ‘Bush,’ ‘Iraq,’ any of it. No ‘Give Peace a Chance’ because as much as I love John Lennon’s reaction to early Bob Dylan, my favorite reaction to early Bob Dylan was Bob Dylan’s. So with that in mind, I pulled the camera back and found poverty under certainty of religion.”

Snider, 42, has a way of breathing heartbreak and sadness – along with his wry humor – into his songs’ characters. His songwriting draws from his past struggles with addictions and stints in rehab.

“I just have as much fun trying to live them out as trying to write them,” he told the (Nashville) Tennessean in a 2005 interview.

Snider gained attention in 1994 with his debut album “Songs from the Daily Planet.” He had a minor hit with the hidden track “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues,” a satire of the grunge scene, according to All Music.

Eric Andersen will play at  8 p.m. Sunday.

Eric Andersen will play at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Grammy-winning folk musicians Cathy Fink (left) and Marcy Marxer will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Plaza Stage and at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on the Courtyard Stage.

Grammy-winning folk musicians Cathy Fink (left) and Marcy Marxer will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Plaza Stage and at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on the Courtyard Stage.



24th annual Tucson Folk Festival Kick-Off Party

7-11:30 p.m. Friday at Old Town Artisans. $3 donation suggested. Full bar and food available. Mexican Buffet $6.


7 p.m. – The Mexican Beaded Lizard Band

7:30 – Woolley Dawgs

8 – Whistle Stop

8:30 – Under the Willow Tree

9 – Songwriter Showcase with Tom Whitlock, Glenn Torrico and Steve Decker

9:40 – Andrew Dahl-Bredine

10 – Andy Hurlbut and Anne James

10:30 – John Hanson

11 – Combo Westside


noon – Sid Hausman (Plaza Stage); Bob Wilders (Old Town Artisans Stage)

12:30 p.m. – Wick ‘N Cole (PS); Wayback Machine (Museum Stage); Cinder Bridge (OTAS)

1 – Seven Baird (PS); J. Daniel Twelker (MS); Phil & Coralee (OTAS)

1:30 – Stagbunny (PS); Bwiya-Toli )MS); Keith Curtis (OTAS)

2 – Brittney Elizabeth (PS); Russell Bartlett (Courtyard Stage); Karmann Powell (MS); Courtney Robbins (OTAS)

2:30 – Amber Norgaard (PS); John de Roo (CS); Robyn Landis (MS); Wayward Maggie (OTAS)

3 – Andre Nobels (PS); Greg Renfro, Charlie Alfero (CS); Kimmel/Gibbons/St. Clair (MS); Ice-9 (OTAS)

3:30 – Kenny Voita (PS); Anne James (CS); SAndy Hathaway (MS); Eb’s Camp Cookin’ (OTAS)

4 – Batucaxe (PS); Shell and Valdez (CS); The Last Call Girls (MS); Mitzi Cowell (OTAS)

4:30 – Elise Grecco, Lou Stebner (PS); Karen Mal (CS); Dana Hubbard (MS); Larry Murante (OTAS)

5 – Bob Malone (PS); None Too Soon (CS); Alan James (MS); Stefan & Lavina (OTAS)

5:30 – roth d’lux (PS); 16th Place (CS); Starseed Acoustic Ensemble (MS); Matt Miller (OTAS)

6 – Larry Armstrong, CopperMoon (CS); Kathi Huhtaluhta, The Four Winds (MS); AmoChip (OTAS)

6:30 – Phil Borzillo (PS); Titan Valley Warheads (MS); Robby Roberson (OTAS)

7 – The Tryst (PS); ‘Roon (OTAS)

7:30 – Shaum Cromwell (PS); Chad Brimm (OTAS)

8 – Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer (PS); Chet Gardiner (OTAS)

9:30 – Todd Snider (PS)


11 a.m. – John McGill (PS)

11:05 – Tucson Songbirds (CS)

11:25 – Alexandra Odneal (CS)

11:30 – Jim Berault (PS); Jeremy Dion (MS)

11:45 – Lucas Carballeira (CS)

noon – Namoli Brennet (PS); Harvest (MS); GEmini Duo (OTAS)

12:10 p.m. – Tucson Mountain Boys (CS)

12:30 – Dean Station (PS); Mariachi Nueva Melodia (CS); Sabra Faulk (MS); Bright & Childers (OTAS)

1 – Tucson Women’s Chorus (PS); Jesus Lopez (CS); Dambe Drum Ensemble (MS); Sanford and The Blooming Cereus (OTAS)

1:30 – Privy Tippers (PS); Tiffany Jo Allen (CS); Karen Nash (MS); Don Simpson (OTAS)

2 – Arizona Balaika Orchestra (PS); Mirror Image (CS); Marvin Todacheenie (MS); Silver Thread Trio (OTAS)

2:30 – Alycea (PS); Sarah Barchas (CS); Emilie, Stefan George (MS); Jamie O’Brien (OTAS)

3 – Round the House (PS); Sid Hausman (CS); Mandophilia (MS); Leila Lopez (OTAS)

3:30 – Duncan Stitt (PS); Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer (CS); Pablo Peregrina (MS); David McKay (OTAS)

4 – Pete Kartsounes (PS); Lori Sumberg (MS); High Desert (OTAS)

4:30 – Eric Hansen (PS); Ron Pandy (CS); Andy Hurlbut (MS); Brian Berggoetz (OTAS)

5 – Blue Prairie Dogs (PS); Peter Carroll Duo (CS); R. Mark Fogelson (MS); Wally Lawder, Brandie Thornburg (OTAS)

5:30 – Jo Wilkinson, Grains of Sand (PS); Mudwerks (CS); The Maxwells (MS); Carnivaleros (OTAS)

6 p.m. – Greg Morton, String Figures (PS); Darrell Elmer Rodgers, Rick Heyman (MS); Too Much Information (OTAS)

6:30 – Joyce Woodson (PS); Determined Luddites (MS); BK Special (OTAS)

7 – Compas (PS); 4th Street String Band (OTAS)

7:30 – MJ Bishop (PS); Kevin Pakulis, Larry Lerma (OTAS)

8 – Eric Andersen (PS); Paul Pino, The Toe Daddies (OTAS)



What: Tucson Folk Festival

When and Where: The kickoff party is from 7-11:30 p.m. Friday at Old Town Artisans Courtyard, 201 N. Court Ave. The festival continues from noon-10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at El Presidio Park, 255 W. Alameda St. (west of the old County Courthouse), Old Town Artisans and the Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave.

Price: Admission is free

Info: 792-6481, www.tkma.org

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